A Cleburne teenager has set Facebook afire after posting pictures of her African hunting safari.
Critics are bashing Kendall Jones for taking part in conservation hunts and glorifying the kills by posting pictures online. Supporters are also coming to her defense, saying there is nothing wrong with what she's doing.
The pictures and videos that Jones, a Texas Tech sophomore, posted to Facebook of her posing with big game she’s shot has sparked a Facebook petition demanding she take the pictures down.
That petition has garnered tens of thousands of signatures and a lot of angry comments.
Jones told her hometown newspaper she's since been victimized by "online bullying" and had "several death threats.”
Jones, who’s still currently in Africa, posted video of villagers being given an elephant to eat, and she told the Cleburne Times Review that the money paid to African governments for hunting permits "…is badly needed to help provide the bare necessities such as water and shelter…"
"Anyone who's ever spent any time in Africa is not likely to buy that any money given to the government finds its way down to the locals,” said animal rights activist and lawyer, Don Feare.
Feare has been to Africa several times on photo safaris, and he scoffs at conservation claims.
"In my opinion, she throws in a little tagging to make herself look better so she can call herself a conservationist,” said Feare. “She's a hunter and she's trying to sell a hunting show."
In fact, Jones says on Facebook that she's taping the hunts for a show on the Sportsman Channel to "spread the knowledge of hunting and wildlife conservation.”
Ben Carter and the Dallas Safari Club weathered a similar storm on the internet when it auctioned off a black rhino hunt last December. Like Jones, the winning bidder and his family were plagued with death threats and attacks on the internet.
Carter thinks hunters are increasingly being targeted by what he calls a fringe group of people who simply hate the idea of hunting.
"In my opinion, it's really cyber terrorism is what it is,” said Carter. “Hunting is an American tradition that's been here for a long time, and I know we've lost some of our traditions, but I sure hope we don't ever lose that tradition.”
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